Speakers at the joint graduation ceremony of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the Pan African University have urged graduates & researchers from African universities to proactively seek lasting solutions to the continent’s socio-economic and political challenges.
Addressing the graduands during the event on Friday June 29th 2018, JKUAT Chancellor Prof. Geoffrey Maloiy highlighted the work of Dr. Christine Ong’ayo Wangia, a lecturer in JKUAT School of Pharmacy who had discovered a Kenyan medicinal plant with properties that can be harnessed for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Prof. Maloiy who conferred degrees and awarded diplomas to 3163 graduands during the ceremony also urged researchers to disseminate their findings and transfer technology as a way of buoying societal well being.
During the ceremony, the Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI) presented its first batch of 14 PhD graduates and additional 32 who were conferred with masters degrees.
In a speech, CS. Amina Mohamed said the government had placed premium on the role of universities in its development agenda; lauding JKUAT for its contributions in the implementation of Northern Corridor Integration and Galana Kulala Projects.
Amb. Amina also reaffirmed government’s commitment in the implementation of PAU; a move she said would significatnly boost the continent’s desire for integration. The CS was represented by Zeinab Hussein, Principal Secretary, State Department of Post-Training and Skills Development.
PAU Council President, Prof. Pierre Dominique Nzinnzi said it is through proper adoption of science and technolgoy that Africa could achieve its cultural and social transformation.
Prof. Nzinzi challenged the graduands to emulate their predicessors who have become notable contributors in industry and academia; and make a difference in their respective areas of specialization for Africa’s good.
JKUAT Council Chaiperson, Prof. Paul Njuki Kanyari said the University had developed a new strategic plan to guide its transformational bid into a research and entreprenuerial institution.
“The University recently commissioned a KES 350 Million noodles factory with the support of Nissin Foods Holding Company of Japan. The facility will be vital in achieving manufacturing and food security, which are part of the Government’s “Big Four” agenda” Prof. Kanyari said.
JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga said the graduation marked an important milestone to both JKUAT and PAUSTI, adding that it marked an important step in integration of Africa through higher education and research, as espoused in the PAU objectives.
Prof. Imbuga who has been at the helm of JKUAT for the last ten years said the University had made remarkable progess, clocking over 45,000 students, up from 7000 in 2008.
“I am pleased that JKUAT has become the most prefered instituion as exemplified by the recent government-sponsored students’ admissions where JKUAT attracted 4866 students, the highest number compared to other universities,” Prof. Imbuga said.
Prof. Imbuga added that JKUAT had also emerged a veritable regional centre of excellence; hosting key institutions such as the African Union led PAU; the Beijing backed Sino Africa Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC); and the IMO’s Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre for Africa.
A total of 106 PhD degrees were awarded during the graduation ceremony; the highest in the history JKUAT in one sitting. In addition 64 students were awarded post-graduate diplomas in tax and customs administration.
PAU is a flagship project of the African Union; founded in 2010 to promote Africa’s socio-economic tranformation and integration. It is implemented through a network of excellent universities based in the five nodes of Africa. The JKUAT based PAUSTI graduated its inaugural batch of students in November 2014.
Currently, PAU has a total student enrollment of 1370; drawn from 46 member states of the African Union. In additon the University, through its four operational hubs has graduated a total of 522 students; 16 with PhDs.